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“Early 2005 may be considered the apogee of what was then called the European project. The previous spring, 10 states of central and eastern Europe joined the EU, making it the largest commonwealth of liberal democracies in European history. That union was proposing a constitutional treaty, popularly known as a “European constitution”. A single currency, the euro, appeared to be working well — and for many Europeans there was a sense of all-round optimism. The outbreak of a pro-European Orange revolution in Ukraine convinced Russian president Vladimir Putin that the apparently soft, postmodern EU was a real threat to his power. Even the sceptical historian, Tony Judt, wrote in his history of post-1945 Europe, published in 2005: ‘The 21st century might yet belong to Europe.’...................
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